THE GLOWING (a.k.a. De Gloeiige) *** Netherlands 2019 Dir: Justus Van Den Elsen. 9 mins
Co-written by director Justus Van Den Elsen and Bart Verhoeven, this atmospheric, haunting short unfolds around the border between the Netherlands and Belgium in the middle of the 19th century. Stories circulate about a possible monster living in the border swamps. Amongst the poverty-stricken Catholic citizens, a farmhand sets out to smuggle his cattle over the border but is stopped in his tracks by an ominously glowing creature. This curious film has a fascinating backdrop and builds substantial anticipation around its unique creature – positioning it in the context of stories told for centuries by farmers relishing their own folklore. Van Den Elsen’s visuals are evocative, though the ultimate conclusion is a tad disappointing, leaving us stranded just as it seems to be getting into first gear. Still, never a bad thing to leave an audience wanting more.
Review by Steven West